Micah and Isaiah both served the Lord during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The first and third of these kings did what was right in the eyes of God, but Ahaz was an evil monarch. Regardless of who was sitting on the throne of David, there was much throughout the cities and villages of the Promised Land that required divine correction.
The Lord began the book of Micah by saying something to all the nations of the earth. God in heaven was sending trouble upon Israel and Judah. How would this be instructive to other countries? If this was the way that the Lord would deal with the sin of His own beloved flock, all those outside of covenant relationship with Him needed to consider what their fate might eventually be (1 Peter 4:17).
The capital cities of Jerusalem and Samaria had become centers of idolatry and immorality. Micah lamented deeply over the disobedience of his countrymen and the serious consequences of their sins. The condition of Israel was “incurable,” and the same “wound” had touched Judah.
The prophet used the names of various towns in order to reinforce the sure judgment that was coming. He referred to their fate by using Hebrew words of tribulation that sounded like the very places that would soon suffer these trials. For example, the locale known as Beth-le-aphrah sounded like the Hebrew words for “house of dust.” Therefore Micah said, “In Beth-le-aphrah roll yourselves in the dust.” There were no less than nine similar word plays in this chapter as the Lord’s ambassador mourned over what would soon come upon this territory from greater powers to the north and east.
In every age the honest observer finds deceit and sin all over the earth. If inclusion in the line of Jacob could not save people from the discipline of Yahweh, what possible hope would there be for those who had no relation to the Lord’s elect nation?
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), yet the Almighty was not content to leave His children without hope. The Lord Himself needed to accomplish our salvation. Through the cross of Christ we see displayed an ultimate and effectual “exile” that sinners deserved. Christ was nailed to a cross though He had done nothing wrong. He was cut off from the Lord’s people for one very dark moment so that we might be brought into God’s eternal kingdom of light forever. We have been justified by God’s grace as a gift through the redemption that is ours in Christ Jesus.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, thank You for the true Word spoken through holy prophets of old. You are against all wickedness. We will never be able to stand if You come against us for our sins and transgressions. The problem of our unrighteousness was something that we needed to learn. How could we have understood the work of our Savior, if we did not see the reality of our wickedness? You gave Your people the Law, and through that system we began to see the punishment that we deserved. Glorious Lord, gather Your elect, for You have accomplished our redemption.